Should I Try a Sales Channel Beta Test?
Why a Beta Test (Pilot) Is a Great Place to Start
For companies new to sales channels, dipping your toe in the water via a beta test is a great way to analyze the potential benefits of a sales channel program for your organization. Not only will a beta test help you clarify the resources required to put out a sales force to sell your product, but also test the demand for the product you are taking to market.
In certain instances, it simply makes sense to do a beta test. Let’s say an opportunity has presented itself that may be either short-lived in duration or within a geographic area where you have limited capabilities. Sales channels can be a solution that allows you to test without “gearing up” internal cost. You will also be able to clearly identify the cost associated with the opportunity, so exposure will be clearly understood.
When launching a beta test with a reputable sales channel partner, it’s important to understand the following:
- This is a huge learning opportunity. The purpose of a beta test is to play with metrics. If conducted properly, a beta test will enable you to profile the ideal salesperson needed to sell your product, the ideal type of compensation plan for your salespeople, the best markets for your product, the market’s acceptance of your product, and so on. While your end goal is to sell as much product as possible, you’ll never achieve it without the right sales function in place. A well-conducted beta test will provide parameters for the sales function.
- Give the test 90 to 120 days to produce measurable data. If you start a sales channel beta test with the expectation that you’ll have a good handle on the market in a month or two, you’ll be quickly disappointed. In our experience, it takes between 90 and 120 days to gather enough data to collect and study sales metrics. Once market metrics are established, they will typically apply to market expansion, enabling predictable financial forecasting associated with program expansions.
- Be flexible. If this is your first experience with sales channels, you may have your heart set on testing your product in a specific market. An experienced sales channel partner will be able to offer specific market recommendations for a beta test. Markets vary significantly by candidate(s) availability, SMB density, state and local embedded entry cost and regulations, as well as transportation and commuting costs. Initial market selection can result in saving thousands of dollars on the beta test while gathering equally valuable metrics.
- Understand the costs: There should be no surprises. One of the best things about a beta test is the clearly defined costs. When working with Netpique on a sales channel beta test, you will have a definitive budget set based on the sales force we identify, hire, and train to launch your product. You will have a clear picture of your exposure over a set period, with no surprises.
For companies without the infrastructure in place to build compensation plans, recruit and train salespeople, and monitor metrics, a sales channel beta test can be an excellent solution to taking a product to market.
Want to learn more about what a sales channel beta test can do for your company? Contact Netpique today at 888.310.3656.